I thought I do a drawing on an issue thats always been close to my heart: the nightmare that is open plan offices. Here is some of the reasons why I struggle…
People bringing in their own smells constantly: ARGH. So many smelly lunches! Strong coffees. Overwhelming perfumes, aftershaves, deodorants.
Everyone chatting: I cannot filter a conversation happening in front of me if there are also many going on around me. I find it super hard to tune into the closest person to me because i hear everything all at once.
Desks are too close: I need my own personal space (who doesn’t?) and I find open plan offices can sometimes be set-up like call centres where they squish as many people as physically possible into the space. I know this can’t always be avoided but by being so close to other people it can affect how well i work (they might wear strong perfume or aftershave, chat too loudly, have hot smelly lunches at their desk, etc) and this grates on me.
Strong lighting: Strip lighting can be super harsh but also really distracting.
Random desk visitors: FILL ME WITH UTTER FEAR. Please email me! I am super responsive via email I promise. Don’t ring me or visit me at my desk….I know this is easier said than done but I work a million times better if I someone emails me in detail about the work they’d like me to do or schedules in a meeting I can prepare for. I hate it when people just ‘pop’ by my desk even if it’s for a chat…I’m at work and I really (really) don’t want to chat. I just want to do my work and do it well. I know that sounds very anti-social but I am quite anti-social and need structure to my work and day in order to thrive.
Bright clothing: I’ve said it before (in previous posts and in my podcasts!) PLEASE DON’T HANG UP YOUR FLOUROSCENT JACKETS in the office. Cloakroom / changing room = fine but in and open plan environment it is honestly sensory hell. They are beyond distracting and physically upset me (which sounds ridiculous but they take my my entire head).
Also I saw @innocent did a post recently about Disability Pride in July and they mentioned that they don’t employ many people with disclosed disabilities at the moment and they’d like to change that.
They were encouraging people to chat and feedback with input in the comments and I think this drawing is my little contribution as to how companies (especially larger ones) need to be aware of how overwhelming open plan offices can be. It’s great to hear so many companies are moving in the right direction and encouraging the conversation around how to be more accommodating for neurodiverse employees.
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Hi everyone. Everything’s a bit weird and out of sorts at the moment. I just wanted to pop on and say (in the least cheesiest way possible)… I’m thinking of you all. I know that a lack or structure, routine (and just general widespread panic) is more than enough to cause sensory meltdowns and autistic burnout 🧠 This can put a strain on our wellbeing and mental health. It’s important to try (if you can) to keep communicating with your family and friends about your feelings. Change is difficult for us – no matter how big or small.
I’m waiting to hear if the company I work for are going to make us work from home 🏠 No update yet… but I’m already thinking about working out my own little daily schedule to organise my time ⏱ – and I’ve seen lots of fab people sharing great weekly planners and colour blocking out their time ✏️ Comment down below any good resources you know of!
Tomorrow is going to be my last day in the office – my work has split us into colour groups and we can occasionally come into work but in alternating groups and days / weeks over the next 3 months.
I know I am so so lucky to be able to work from home but I am so worried about all this change in routine and structure and I feel so sensory and overloaded by this.
If you have a look at my story highlight called ‘Workplace’ you’ll see I’ve struggled in my open plan office for a while, and maybe I’ll grow to love working remotely (but again this is a change and a shift and I am so rubbish with even teeny tiny changes.)
Fellow sensory and autistic people: I feel you. Right now is the weirdest most confusing time and I hope you are all doing okay – I love this little community and I know how supportive we all are of each other.
I’m going to be setting up my own little home office (I have a desk in my bedroom) if you might be interested in me documenting this head over to my Instagram and keep an eye out.
Believe in yourself and magic will happen. This is my favourite quote (I wrote it out above!). It’s a simple one-liner that gets to the point. You never know what could happen if you believe in yourself a little bit more.
I have this quote on a necklace – see the photo of it above. The necklace/quote reminds me to keep going even if I’m having a day where I don’t believe in myself at all.
I have real imposter syndrome at work (I’m a creative/graphic designer) and I feel totally inadequate / rubbish / frustrated at myself regularly. I know I have the skills to do my job it’s just difficult sometimes to feel my worth and believe in myself.
I am the design team for my company…there is only me. When I don’t know how to do something Google/YouTube tutorials become my colleagues that I ask for help! And that’s okay – I can’t know everything…nobody can. It’s just remembering that is hard.
How do you fight off imposter syndrome? Any good tips appreciated! 🤷🏻♀️